The History Teacher who was a Role Model, Mr Yashpal Bharadwaj

The History Teacher who was a Role Model

Mr. Yash Pal Bhardwaj (1935-2021)

Dr. Jashanjot Singh (S-52,1967)

Mr. Yash Pal Bhardwaj (popularly known and remembered as ‘YPB’) was born on July 9, 1935 (in South Africa, according to Mr. OP Bhatnagar, his close friend and ex-teacher). After schooling from Birla School, Delhi, he did his BA and MA from the coveted St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, in 1956 and 1958 respectively. In 1960 he did his Bachelors in Education from Central Institute of Education, Delhi.

Thereafter, he joined The Punjab Public School, Nabha on May 10, 1960. The  great Headmaster of the School, Mr. JK Kate, Padma Shri, selected him not only because of his academic qualifications but also for his wonderful personality and his sporting background which was a huge asset to the School and its students.

He was in the league of the great founding teachers of the School considered the ‘Pillars’, on whose shoulders the school gained strength and all India fame, being counted as one of the best Public Schools, within a span of a few years.

In League with “The Pillars” of The PPS of Founding Years in 1960s. YPB is seated second from left. Invaluable all of them, in their own right. The staff seating was in order of seniority in School. Here, YPB is sitting in august company of the legends like Mr. SC Cowell, Senior Master fourth from left to right, Mr. JK Kate the ‘Great Headmaster’, Mr. Michael Vodden the British Council Teacher and Head of English who wrote the School Song, Miss GB Malkani, mother like legendary  head of Junior School, Mr. MN Tankha the great executor of many events in school and right hand of Mr. Kate at the start of the School.

Great friends of 1965-66, from left YP Bhardwaj, YP Johri, R. Sibal, KC Tandon and David Goldberg (US peace corps). They had regular ‘Bridge sessions’ of cards.

The members of a great team of teachers. From left YP Bhardwaj, YP Johri,  OP Bhatnagar and PN Mathu.

On October 16, 1960, YPB organised and conducted the first ever GK Quiz in the School. On October 23, he launched the History Society of the School.

Not only was he a great teacher of history and House master of Jumna House but also a great sportsman who had huge effect on the students by his own performance on the field. On 5th Feb, 1961, the school team including Mr. MS Bhatnagar and Mr. YP Bhardwaj (both Ranji trophy players) played a cricket match against Ripudaman College and won by 24 runs. On 22nd May, 1961, the School team (comprising six boys and five staff) played a hockey match against the local army unit, the famous Scinde Horse. Mr. Bhardwaj spearheaded the attack and we won 3-2.

While at school he represented Southern Punjab in Ranji cricket against Delhi at Patiala. To the delight of the group of his students who went to watch the match, their beloved teacher stole the show with both bat and ball. He took 1  wicket for 31 runs and scored 28.

He had to his credit bagging of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi (captain of India) out on first ball, an out swinger. He was one of the best out swingers in India at that time. He somehow missed the chance, when he was called for but was unable to attend, the India team trials.

At the Inauguration of The Punjab Public School, Nabha. The President Dr Rajender Parsad is being introduced to the staff. YPB is third from left in the faces seen.

Senior Master Dr Surjit Singh introducing Gyan Singh Kahlon, ICS , Chief secretary of Govt of Punjab to the staff. YPB sir is second from right. (Around 1962)

In the company of Geography teacher, Mr. Tankha, a diehard trekker, YPB also undertook many trekking trips to the mountains. In September, 1962, they with Mr. OP Bhatnagar took a group of seventeen boys to the Kolahai Glacier. On their return they gave a presentation with a slide show, which was remarkable in those days.

In March , 1965, he was one of the staff members at the first inaugural meeting held to start The Old Nabhiates Association.

He was also the Games master. He coached boys on the playground with vigor and enthusiasm. His dynamism rubbed off on all the teams of Hockey, Football and Cricket teams.

His passion for sports, especially cricket, endeared him to the boys. His amiable character, easy-going manners and friendly nature made him popular with both staff and students. He was full of action and inspired students to aim and achieve higher. His former students fondly recall his favourite word “WASTER‟ that he would use for anybody who was lazy and showed a lack of initiative.

He was an extrovert, witty, with a great sense of humour, (Mr. Kate would often turn to him for light talk when needed). He had that slow swaggering walk, keen observant eyes, with a good sense of dress, flamboyant and stylish demeanour which left an indelible impression on the minds of young boys of the school. No wonder boys admired him, respected him, adored him and wanted to emulate his mannerisms. HE WAS THEIR “ROLE MODEL”.

YPB sitting in his usual relaxed and cool style with the great Senior Master of the School Mr SC Cowell. Both in a great happy moment.

Mr. Bhardwaj, after a six-year stay at PPS, made a career  move to Mayo College, Ajmer.  On May, 8th, 1966, before the end of the term, Home day dinner was held early  as Mr Kate the Headmaster put it, to enable the school to bid farewell to departing staff members Mr. YP Bhardwaj, Mr. Lowell Edwards and Mr. David Goldberg (Peace Corps teachers from US).

He  gained significantly in experience in the first school he served. Many years later he again served under Mr. JK Kate at The Sports School, Rai, which he also later headed. Based on the knowledge and experience gained under Mr. Kate, he went on to head many elite schools and became an acclaimed educationist. Under one of the greatest Headmasters of India, he had learnt the ropes of efficient and ideal running of a Public School.

The Punjab Public School, Nabha honoured him with the highly coveted Life Time Achievement Award in 2015 for meritorious services to the School and later to education in the different schools he served.

As guest at the ONA dinner with the Punjab Governor Gen. Jacob at PCA  Club, Mohali (2001)

The forty-year reunion of 1967 batch in the Naval Mess on Shahjahan road. Mr. and Mrs. Bhardwaj were the guests of honour at the occasion. Here they are sitting in the center.(2007)

Mr. YP Bhardwaj in October , 2012 with his former student and now the chief of Army Staff (COAS) of India, General Bikram Singh (B-71,1968).

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Yash Pal Bharadwaj passed away on 25th August, 2021. Below are some of the tributes paid by students and colleagues of YPB from across the world.

 

The Punjab Public School Nabha and The Old Nabhaites Association ‘Family’ is shocked by the passing away of their beloved ‘The First History Teacher of the School’, Mr. Yash Pal Bhardwaj, on 25th of August, 20121. The ‘Family’ shares the sorrow of Mrs. Mondira Bhardwaj and Bhardwaj children and offers its heartfelt condolences.

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YPB had been my close friend in the PPS and Mayo. All the praise that his colleagues and pupils are singing for him are correct. He has been a large-hearted gentle man. It is extremely rare to find sportsman of his level of skill and spirit. He has been highly intelligent and witty.

He was born in South Africa. He was St Stephen’s Hockey captain. He played Ranji Trophy for Delhi for nearly 8 yrs and also played for Southern Punjab as an opening bowler and opening batsman. During his hay days he was the best outswinger in India. He was called for test trials, but he couldn’t go. He played Basketball for Delhi state. In Mayo he played tennis very well.

Initially all of us took him as sports person and not as a good classroom teacher. Gradually I found that he was a wonderful teacher of his subject. What he taught was on students’ fingertips. His residence was never locked. Boys of Jumna House could freely go, sit on his sofa in his absence and read magazines. He was a cricket coach per excellence. I have been very close to him. During 1960 floods the whole school camped for 5-6 months in the Junior School building. He was my room- mate. He was more than eager to help anyone anytime. He is adorable.

Soon after joining I was chatting with him in May 1960 in his room. I mentioned that I drew portraits from life. He immediately gave me his letter pad and a red pencil and asked me to do his portrait. Material was unsuitable, light was unsuitable. I still did his portrait. He preserved that for at least four decades. Out of all the teachers, who are still living, I have been his closest friend. He made immense contribution to PPS. He is a gem.

I wish him complete recovery. May God restore him to perfect health.

O.P. Bhatnagar, (An old message, some time back from the Ex-Hindi and Arts Teacher, The PPS) (Pune).

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He was a great teacher and had his individual style of teaching. I remember him walk into the class with a book and a note book in his hand or under his arm wearing a nice tweed jacket with elbow leather patches. He would head straight for the black board, pick up a chalk and start writing in his neat handwriting from the note book, the lesson notes for the day in abbreviated form with dashes in between. We would copy it down in our note books. This would take about ten to fifteen minutes. Then, he would explain the lesson to us in a clear fashion. After another fifteen minutes, he would do few minutes of light talk, humouring some individual students in the class. In the last ten minutes he would take out the book which was titled, “101 great lives”. He would pick up one life of a great historical personality from it and read it to the class. It could be Captain Cook, Napoleon, Alexander, Abrahm Lincoln, Churchill, Caesar or Dr Livingstone.

What a great way of impacting the minds of young with history!

Good bye Sir!

Dr. Jashanjot Singh (S-52,1967), Mohali

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Dear Benu, Chumki and Rana, I am stunned, shocked and saddened to know that our dear Yash is no more. Thousands of his grateful students and, like me, hundreds of his admirers, mourn the loss. May God grant his soul eternal peace and give you all the strength to bear this irreparable. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I share your sorrow with you.

BS Bhatnagar (ex-English Master, The PPS), Hong Kong

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Rarely do we come into contact with a person like YPB. He was for us the House Master, parents, friend, philosopher, guide and of course History Teacher, all rolled into one. May the divine grant him eternal peace.

Om Shanti;

Kedarnath Bansal (J-4,1964), Nabha

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We use to eagerly look forward to his coming to junior school to teach us History, as 10 year olds we use to look out of our class room window , we had the corner class room in class 5.He use to  come on a bicycle. We loved each moment of his class.

He was so full of life and energy. Farewell dear Sir. 🙏🙏

Jyoti Kate (R-52,1967), Pune

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The inevitable has happened with the passing away of YPB Sir. Glowing tributes are just pouring in which again are inevitable. One wonders how one can put in words to describe someone Ike YPB. Personally, we, who were in PPS in the early 60s were lucky to have him for a good period of time since he left for his new assignment. I personally remanence the fond memories and shall cherish them for the rest of my life. My prayers to the Almighty to give strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss. Rest in peace dear sir till we meet again. Om Shanti!

if YPB is so lauded, it is because he had in him something unique, as the saying goes ‘successful people don’t do different things, they do things differently’. YPB surely is an epitome of the teaching profession.

Dr. Narinder Kohli (B-79,1966), Calcutta

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Extremely sorry to read about the demise of Mr Bhardwaj. A very lovable teacher. May his soul rest in peace. May Almighty give strength and courage to the family to bear the loss. RIP Sir

Col Dr Dharamveer Chhiber, Canada (R-39,1963)

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Extremely sad news. He was a great soul. He was indeed a combination of simplicity and  style. A totally down to earth Personality with humane approach. He   imbibed in us the spirit to be a fighter as also to accept defeat in an honourable manner. I remember the Julu Dance performed by Jumma House in African style after winning Inter House Football match. His Motto of Straight Bat and modest mind was a success mantra in my life. He was and will continue to be a Role Model to his students.His loss is irreparable to the Educational Fraternity.

Om Shanti!

Maj Gen Suresh Tiwari (J-34,1963), Jaipur

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Pushapraj: Hello Uncle – this is really sad news. I remember him fondly, as I used to call him थप्पड़ uncle. Please pass on my heartfelt condolences to his family.

👆🏿Above is the message I received from Monty Tankha (USA) son of Mr and Mrs Tankha. Yash was a very close friend of the Tankhas.

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Really sad to learn!

Ma’m kindly accept our heartfelt condolences. Sir will always be alive in our memories. Sir YPB was one of the greatest teachers of The PPS. Those of us who have spent the formative years of the school in the early 60’s won’t ever forget him. In Jan,1961 my Father handed me over to him as J 51 in the corridor outside the tuck shop and was gone in a jiffy! Sir YPB leaves a mark in the golden pages of the history of The PPS! An all-rounder in all spheres of the school activities. But most of all a most stylish personality par excellence!

Vijay Plaha (J-51,1964), New Delhi

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YPB was one of our founder teachers. Handsome, stylish, flamboyant. He could play any sport like a pro.Laid a strong foundation for sports at PPS.

Col Amarjit Shahid (B-102,1971), Canada

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A dear friend and the only one left out of those who joined The PPS (Sainik School) in 1960.We are shattered with the sad news! God bless his soul &grant strength to bear this loss!

Mondira Bharadwaj has been very brave throughout his suffering!!

Our heartfelt condolences! 🕉Shanti!!!

Mrs KPK Tandon (who joined with YPB in 1960 as founder teacher).Mohali

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So very sorry to hear. My heartfelt condolences to the family. A true stalwart. He will be missed.  His contributions in every field were enormous and will be remembered in the annals of PPS history. RIP.

Pushapraj, (PA to Headmaster JK Kate in 1960-70s), USA

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So sorry to learn about the passing away of Mr YPB. He will be remembered for long time. Om Shanti!!

Dr Satish Jain (R-107,1970, in hospital himself, post-surgery), Delhi

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Mondiraji.

I am shocked to know about your loss. I will always miss him. I was very close to him. We used to eat, play, have discussion and do many things and go on treks and tours. What a man!

A rarest of the rare gem. I share your grief. My wife joins me in offering my heartfelt condolences to you and to every member of your family. May God grant eternal peace to the noble soul and give strength to you all to bear the unbearable.  Om, shanti, shanti, shanti!!!

O.P. Bhatnagar (Ex-Hindi Teacher), Pune

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YPB – Sir, at the time ‘we were boys in the school’, he was larger than life, almost an iconic figure. He had that wonderful swagger and was flamboyant in his younger days. He would talk about getting Mansur Ali Khan alias Nawab of Pataudi, on his first delivery in a Ranji match. He would fondly talk about his dating Ms. Reita Faria, who probably was first Asian Miss world. All these musings which come to my mind really made him larger than life to those associated with him.

His life is reminiscent of two iconic movies -To Sir with Love with Sidney Poitier as the main lead and ‘Goodbye Mr. Chips’, with Peter O’Toole in the lead. The handsome face of YPB, makes me think of Peter O’Toole and he being his look alike.  Goodbye YPB Sir. 💐

Davinder Sodhi, DGM, SBP (Retd.) (J-75, 1969), Chandigarh

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A very popular teacher and a keen sports person. Lived a wholesome life. May his soul rest in eternal peace. 🕉 Shanti

Gen. Vinay Sharma (S-129,1967), Gurgaon

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Deeply grieved to hear of the sad sad demise of our MOST RESPECTED HISTORY TEACHER, Mr.Yashpal Bharadwaj. What a noble soul!……A thorough gentleman and a wonderful HUMANBEING. It was an honour to be his student till Class 11. What a noble soul…….a perfect gentleman…….a great cricketer ……..and MOST IMPORTANTLY our outstanding HISTORY TEACHER.

Kulwinder, Ex-headmaster, GGSPS, Sangrur. (R-44,1967)

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YPB Sir, was a great man and a human being. Excellent cricketer. Taught us history and made it interesting to learn. Was our Jamuna housemaster. Last met him in Delhi get together of our batch at Kota house. Learnt a lot from him. Great loss for all of us. May his soul rest in peace. God bless!

Col Harjit Chahal (J-49,1967), Chandigarh

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Deeply saddened. Gentleman, cricketer, historian, perfect House Master, motivator and well-wisher.

Even if you were the audience for the tennis ball cricket or football you were part of the group to go to Greens for the ice cream! Nick name ‘Black Knight’ for me was his brain child.

The only person who had 6 pairs of the same shoe so they were cleaned and polished once a week for use each day. Learnt a lot. Taught by example.

RIP Sir.

Cmdr. IJ Arora, retd. (J-40, 1967), USA

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Very sad to hear of YPB’s going. Very very sad, indeed. As our cricket coach (And didn’t he enjoy sharing in good fun how he got Pataudi out with an outswinger!) and teacher of history, he was my hero at school and the single greatest influence to have fashioned my life. Thank you, Sir, and Mr Sibal for making the time to come my screening at the Habitat in Delhi a few years ago. How I wish I could have thanked you more. There are certain artistic debts in life one can never redeem. May YPB be stylishly happy wherever he is.

Vijay Singh (Author, film maker, director, journalist in PARIS) (B-113,1967), Paris

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Sad news a teacher who was friendly and made us feel happy to attend his class and a good sports man and hero Our prayers to God to rest his soul Rest In Peace

Maj VS Bindra (USA) (B-51,1967), USA

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He never liked boys to walk about with their hands in their pockets even if it was very cold. He was always very smartly dressed and expected the boys to be so. While in school or playing cricket. Once after a player got out and left his bat for the next batsman, he asked him to pick up his bat and walk back. Don’t walk without a bat.

God bye Sir!

Vilas Kate (S-96,1970), Pune

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Heartfelt condolences to the family. A dedicated teacher, I was fortunate to have been his student. May he achieve sadgati. Om Shanti.🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Basanti Sathu (R-73,1967), New Zealand

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Will always remember YPB…had the good fortune of visiting him at CR park and just sitting next to him in solitude one evening not so long ago for an hour or so….a great teacher and friend….will always remember playing football with a tennis ball on the side of the building…three sides built. Jumna house on Sunday evenings….RIP Great Teacher…🙏 especially for Jumna House boys! Playing Tennis ball football with him was so much fun! Other players: Budh Prakash, S Tiwari, Hoshiar Singh Harpreet et al.

And the high treat was that once in a while we jumped the back gate with him and he treated us to coke and ice cream at the Green Hotel…

And no one else but I will remember this greatest lesson taught to me… to be humble by YPB ..I  joined PPS from ninth class onwards coming from St Francis High School, Amritsar. I was new in school and took nine wickets in an innings against Ravi House and began gloating about it. News reached Mr. YPB through ‘Bhoond ji’ (Kulwant Dhindsa) and boy in the history class next day he really admonished me saying the famous words ‘Man is indispensable ‘ by Mahmud of Ghazni.

Also told, JS Bedi (J-3), the cricket captain not to offer me the new ball against Kunjpura…and lead the bowling attack thru ‘Bumper'(Naresh Sehgal, Mehta and himself and made me field as the long wicket keeper. I can easily say that most of my personality was shaped and groomed by YPB   and I would believe so many others that passed out of PPS.

Dr. Ishpal Ghai (J-61,1964), Delhi

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An excellent teacher and a great man with lots of style and substance. Will always be missed. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Col Kulwant Gill (B-25,1966), Canada

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Our childhood inspiration and motivation. Exceptional personality. May his soul be with Cod

Col JS Soharu (B-30,1966), Gurgaon

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Who can forget him? Rest teacher. May his soul RIP.

Harikirtan Singh (S24,1966) CPA, Canada

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A stylish personality with superb aura; a great educationist & excellent sportsman who was our housemaster. He was also Director & Principal Motilal Nehru Sports School, Rai (Sonipat). May God bless his soul.

Col Ram Singh (J-31,1966), Delhi

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No doubt was a great teacher & a good coach. RIP sir

Suresh Khanna (B-26,1966), Canada

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Today I’m feeling sad coz I’ve lost my house master. He was my idol. ‘Coz of my boxing and gym, he had nicknamed me as ‘Chutt’, the name I still carry proudly.

Col Niranjan Salaria (J13,1966), Pathankot

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Very sad! Will always remember him, Condolences om shanti om! God bless departed soul.

Brig Yashpal (S-43,1967 H.Sc) Gurgaon

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A sad day. YPB sir, was not only my cricket coach but also taught history. We used to enjoy playing soccer next to Jamuna house on Sundays. May the departed soul rest in peace.

Shivpal Virk (R-40,1965), (first boy to score a century in school). USA, Florida Police,

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This first delivery dismissal of Tiger Pataudi was at Patiala Baradari ground. 1965.

He had gone from school to Patiala to play that match. The few students who were taken to watch the match were proud witnesses.

Col Inderpal Singh (J-77,1965), Chadigarh

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An icon for generations of PPS students. I was fortunate to be mentored by him as my house master, cricket coach and above all as a student of history that he taught. Time and space will never do justice to YPB’s contribution to character building and molding the minds of us 10:11/12-year-olds in the school. An oak has fallen. He now sups with God leaving earth that much poorer with his absence. May his soul rest in eternal peace. 🙏🙏

Admiral Jagjit Singh Bedi (J-3,1963-ISC), Pune

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Very, very sad indeed… he never taught me, but was a favourite of J40, Inderjit, my elder brother… I was in touch with him while working with Dr. Lal Path Labs in Delhi. I had been to his place in Chittaranjan Park, did some tests for him… ace cricketer, learnt sportsmanship from him… in fact, come to think of it – whenever the word sportsmanship is said, somewhere at the back of my mind I’m reminded of him… Sad to know he’s passed away…

Dr. Param Dayal Singh (J-108,1970) , Pune

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Very sad. He was a great teacher, sportsman and house master 🙏

Satnam Waheguru 🙏

Cmdr. Mitinder Sethi (J-76,1966) Ex-IIT, Indian Navy. Pune

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My heartful condolences on the sad demise of Mr. Y.P Bhardwaj my Guruji and mentor for cricket.

I.S Koonar (R-19,1967 H.Sc), Chandigarh (a cricket protégé of YPB who took 6 for 2 when YPS was bowled out for 11 runs in Feb 1967).

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Good bye! Adieu! Sir, from your students and the staff of The Punjab Public School, Nabha who will never forget you as long as they live.

-Compiled and prepared by Dr Jashanjot (S-52,1967)

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Below is a link to the Tribute shared with Mrs. Mondira Bhardwaj wife of YPB Sir.

YPB

Mr. John Mallon, The Scotsman Who Came To Teach At, The Punjab Public School,Nabha.

Mr. John Mallon

(Taught from Sept, 1965- May1968)

(compiled by Dr. Jashanjot Singh (S-52,1967))

Mr. John Mallon in the center with Miss Anita Williams (VSO) . Photo from Fancy dress farewell party to 1967, ISC class by the Class Xth (1968). From left Dr.Jashanjot (S-52), Vijay Gehlout (J-96), Kanwar Vijay Singh (B-113), on right are Inderjit (J-40), Shailender Sharma (R-119,1968) and Varinder Bindra (B-51). Except Sharma , all are from 1967 batch.

He joined school in 1965 and bid farewell to the School in 1968. His services had been loaned to school by The British Council, Originally, he had come for just one year and half (1965) but ultimately, he had extended his stay for another two years. He must have loved the School and us.

Cheif guest Dharam Vira, Governor of Punjab being introduced to Staff by headmaster Mr JK Kate. from right Jasbir Lamba (Bhutalia), Mr.KC Tandon, Mr. OP Bhatnagar, Mrs. KPK Tandon , Mr MN Tankha and Mr John Mallon and Miss GB Malkani

A closer look at Mr Mallon from another picture at same time.

Mr. Mallon had functioned as the Head of English Department and earned the respect of staff and students alike. He faced many challenges but with persistence and tact his methods proved successful and the fruits are seen in the school results, which were usually the best among public schools in India. The reason why, The PPS had a meteoric rise in the 1960s.

From the 1967 Party

On account of his initiative and recommendation , British Council information documentaries or films had become  a regular weekly feature of the School. This feature continued for many years even after he had left. Many Old Nabhiates of that era would remember these films. He was instrumental in the school getting many books for its Library, from the British Council.

His students enjoyed his company in and out of classroom. He was highly respected by his colleagues and those he taught.

With ISC Class (Senior Cambridge) of 1967

With Class of 1966 post PT and Gymnastics display

No wonder, Mr. Kate often sought his advice on diverse matters.

Playing the Scottish bagpipe in a party held in the Senior School Dining Hall

With his famous MG car which he drove like a race driver leaving the onlookers in awe.

He even taught French on his own initiative, for six months to IIT classes, in early 1968 (1967 batch after their ISC exam). He would hand over French booklets for reading and for pronunciation he would bring his personal Tape recorder with spools and play it in the class. One of the students got inspired and went on to become a French journalist , author and film maker in Paris.

Mr and Mrs Mallon left Nabha at the end of May 1968.

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The Mallon  Family and Jyoti Kate (R-52,1967) 

The Mallons and Kate Families became very close friends during their stay in the PPS. In an article sent to me before 2010 Golden Jubilee of the School he wrote:

“The Mallon family life was full of friendship and hospitality, largely due to the Kates.  My wife, Ann, developed skills in Indian cuisine, helped by Nirmala Kate and her friends, and I acquired a preference for Indian and vegetarian food.  Our third child, Margaret, had been born in Hyderabad, and our fourth, Mairi, in Delhi, while we were at Nabha.  The last involved me with J K in my new MG in a collision with a military convoy on the Grand Trunk Road.  Predictably, J K’s contacts provided me with a jeep and a complete rebuild of the front of the MG –   as a safeguard a Puja was carried out on the car on its return.  Mr Oberoi, Sam Cowell’s replacement, became a great friend and tried to revise my written Urdu, while my sons became fluent in Hindi, Punjabi and even Tamil (the last from the ayah).  But when we returned to Edinburgh they ran wild at school and their weakest subject was English!  We were greatly helped by the Horlick’s management in Nabha, although I declined their invitation to head  in convoy at dawn for Delhi during the Indo-Pakistani war.”

At the end of the article he mentioned how much he had loved being at Nabha:

“There are a host of memories which would need a book to recount.

I have had many fascinating and happy postings.  Africa was a culture shock. We went on to Madrid and later South America – a lovely and exasperating land, and most recently Lisbon.  There were visits to Singapore, Korea, Ceylon, South Africa, Rhodesia, Greece, Italy, Iran (under the Shah) and Baghdad before its troubles.  But the most memorable experience was my all too brief three years in Nabha.  It was a privilege to serve under J K Kate in The Punjab Public School, which remains as his enduring legacy.”


At his home in Edinburgh, the Christmas of 2020

Basanthi Mathu (R-73,1967) who visited Mr.Mallon at his home in Edinburgh around 2017-18.


An article that Mr Mallon wrote for the Chronicle when the mercurial Headmaster of The PPS Mr. JK Kate retired from The PPS to join Daly College, Indore.

Mr. John Mallon also wrote an article “Nabha and the Great Headmaster” which he sent to me before Golden Jubilee in 2010. It is included in the section on “”The Founder Headmaster Mr.JK Kate

THE SAD NEWS

The news of Mr.John Mallon’s demise in Edinburgh was conveyed by his daughter Miari (who was born while at Nabha) to Goodie or Jyoti Kate (R-52,1967) daughter of Mr.JK Kate.


 

The following a is a message sent out to all Old Nabhaites by the President, ONA . Brig. Harinder Bedi (R-58,1968) informing them of Mr.Mallon’s passing away.

Please click on the link below.

In Fond Memory Of Mr John Mallon (2)


The Letter below was sent to Mairi with the the message that was sent to Old Nabhaites requesting for  tributes to Mr. John Mallon from his students. These tributes from his students were collected and compiled and forwarded by me to Mairi.

Dear Mairi,

The following was circulated among some of his students and I have compiled what different students of Mr. Mallon had to say at his passing away. I am sharing them with you:-

The Scotsman who came to The Punjab Public School to teach, is no more.

Mr. John Mallon’s daughter Mairi, born while at Nabha informed Goodie (Jyoti Kate , R-52,1967), today. He died peacefully with family around him.

Playing the Scottish bagpipe at a Party in the School Dining Hall.

Brig. Harinder Bedi (R-58,1968) , President of ONA has already informed everyone about the sad demise of Mr. John Mallon.

He was second senior teacher who came to The Punjab Public School, Nabha to facilitate the learning of English, courtesy the British Council,  in the newly started School in Punjab. The intake of boys in the school at that time was not always well versed in English. Mr. MDH Vodden, who was the first as we know who wrote the ‘School Song’ left in 1964. In 1965 he was followed by another great teacher Mr. John Mallon a Scotsman from Edinburgh. He was the Head of English department in the School.

Both these teachers played a great role in laying strong Foundations of the School in its formative years. Mr. Mallon fell in love with the school and India. So much so that he extended his stay by almost two years. He did not leave the School even when, a full-fledged Indo-Pak war was on in 1965.

If any Nabhaite, who was in School during 1965-68, has memory of this great teacher and would like to write about him, please send it to me. I will compile and forward them to his daughter Mairi who was born, while Mallons were at Nabha. This will be a tribute by Old Nabhiates to a great teacher.

Many of 1966 and 1967 batches have already sent their tributes.

Dr Jashanjot (S-52,1967) 9216950004 / jashanjot9@yahoo.com

Some of the reactions/tributes paid to on passing away of a much respected and popular Teacher.

There was Mr. Mallon who always gave me a lift. He would drive his car an English MG, at breakneck speed and we would be in time for assembly.

  • Jyoti Kate (R-52,1967) who would often take lift to senior school from Junior School , courtesy, Mr. Mallon

 We were very fortunate to have teachers from the British Council.

It gave the boys an excellent foundation. Mr. John Mallon joined Nabha after Mr. Vodden left in 1965. Mr. Mallon taught English from1965 to1968. It was because of him I developed a love for the subject. He was an excellent teacher and took a lot of pains over his teaching. He started a club called ‘Athenians’ for us when we were in class 10. He would get records from the British Council and make us listen to them in the assembly hall.

We managed to read anything we could lay our hands on. Apart from this my formal introduction to English literature was through Mr. John Mallon. He ignited my imagination and introduced me to Shakespeare. To this day I clearly recall the lines from Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet and can hear in my mind’s ear the voices of Richard Burton or Lawrence Olivier from the long-playing records of these plays that he obtained for us from the British Council. It was amazing how accurately these renditions followed the original text. Mr. Mellon had an olive-green MG roadster that I envy to this day.

  • Jyoti (R-52,1967) From ‘The Eagle’ archives

Mr. Vodden was followed by Mr Mallon and family whom I knew just for six months, but who also had a fruitful association with the school. The results of our boys spoke for the success of Mr. Vodden’s and Mr. Mallon’s hard work and effort and the speed with which many non-speakers of English picked up a foreign language was phenomenal.

  •  Roger Miall (First VSO from UK to have taught in The PPS in 1962-63.)

We had strict teachers like Mr. Cowell. We had fun teacher like Mr. Mallon.

  • Vineet Mehta, (J-72,1967)

Life is short and death is sure. In between we do what we do. He did good and inspired us. Suggestion to read 20 thousand leagues… to me came from him. Took me to Indian Navy and subs and to the nuke. May his noble soul RIP.

  • Commodore IJ Arora (J-40,1967), Indian Navy

Saddened to hear the passing away of Mr. Mallon, RIP sir.

  • Faqir Chand (S-53,1967)

Extremely sad to hear the passing away of Mr. Mallon. He was a pillar of strength as far as teaching English to us is concerned. Besides his other qualities, he is the one who taught us how to read  a newspaper and pick up new words from the paper. We owe our English speaking & writing skills to him. May his soul rest in peace. God bless .

  • Harjit Chahal (J-49,1967)

I  am very sad to hear about the passing away of Mr. John Mallon.

I still remember at this age of 70 years with what passion and emotion he taught us Literature, be it Shakespeare or Bernard  Shaw. He instilled in me the reading of classics. He brought out in me the creation of writing our own thoughts and imagination.

 I was fortunate to meet Mr. Mallon again after school in 2018 in Edinburgh, when I saw him, he was formally dressed as he always did, that took me back 50 years, I had tears in my eyes and all the memories of his teaching came flashing back.

He remembered his tenure of PPS vividly.

May God give strength to his family members to bear his loss.

Rest in Peace Mr.  Mallon.

  • Basanti Mathu (R-73,1967) , (New Zealand d/o Teacher PN Mathu at The PPS.)

There are umpteen times I have mentioned PPS in my interviews and TV things, how can I not! 

I was thinking precisely about writing around John Mallon’s French records! 

  • Vijay Singh Kanwar (B-113,1967), (2011, From The Eagle issue) 

I am deeply  saddened to hear of John Mallon’s passing. Though one knows that one has to go one day, it is sad to see him gone. Three things I owe to him which had a deep impact on my life – the first reading of Shakespeare, ‘To Sir with Love’ and a phonetically intoxicating French song he played in the class with the words ‘les enfants’. May you be happy in the universe beyond, Sir.  Respect.

  • Vijay Kanwar (B-113,1967), Paris. Journalist, author, film maker, director. (2021) vijay@vijaysingh.net

RIP, Mallon Sir!

  • Surinder Gill (B-53,1967), Seattle, USA

Our prayers for Mr. Mallon soul Rest In Peace and family to be able to bear the loss of a wonderful teacher who put in all efforts to help and teach with enthusiasm and carried all students of the class as a group. I still remember the first time he took our class he was very strict and after that in subsequent classes very friendly. Some of us asked him why he was so strict on the first day. He replied just wanted the students to know that if needed I could be strict. But it was never needed during the subsequent classes.

  • Maj.VS Bindra (B-51,1967), California, USA

RIP Mr. Mallon, you will be missed 🙏🏻

  • General RS Sujlana (B-134,1967)

Very sad. What I remember of him was that he was very modest and unassuming. Taught the A section. Our heartfelt condolences. We pray that his soul rest in peace.

  • A student

An everlasting smile on the face of our Guru (teacher) who knew how to keep himself and others CHEERFUL. May God bless his soul . Heartfelt condolences to Mr. John Mallon & his family.

  • Col Ram Singh (J-31,1967 H.Sc.)

May God Bless his soul.

  • Shy am Sunder Kaushal

He was a great teacher at Nabha  🙏Satnam Waheguru 🙏

  • Mitinder Sethi (J-76,1965) 

Sad indeed. May his soul rest in peace.

  • BD Singh (S-84,1969)

Very sad to learn about Mr. Mallon passing away. What I remember of him is that he was very modest and unassuming. Taught English to A section. Our heartfelt condolences to the family. We pray that his soul rest in peace.

  • Jaideep Sekhon (S-19,1967) Retired Estate manager PUDA

I recall John Mallon quite well. My first exposure to Shakespeare. He was very stylish too – the special chalk that he used, the MG car that he had, his dress sense, etc. He was a great teacher too. And, innovative. He managed to get LP records of the plays in our syllabus, films, etc. to embed the learning. As his student I owe him a debt of gratitude. Best Regards,

  • Ashok Balwani (R-90,1966) ; Director ,Hitachi Home appliances

Mr. John Mallon was an excellent English Teacher who deeply identified himself with his Scottish roots. I still    remember his teaching style while explaining paragraphs from our syllabus novel,  a science fiction “ The Chrysalids” by  John Wyndham. His method of teaching essay writing was unique. My heartfelt condolences on his demise. RIP.

  • Col MS Sandhu (S-54,1966)

Very sad to learn, my heartfelt condolences 💐 may his soul RIP. Still remember his olive-green MG car.

  • Kuwaran Athwal (S-178,1973)

Deeply saddened to learn about the transition of our favourite English Teacher- a smart, ever smiling person with  an excellent talent to communicate and Teach . If we speak good  English with correct pronunciation,  it is courtesy Mr. John Mallon. A silent prayer for the noble soul to rest in eternal peace and for the family members to bear this huge loss with fortitude. In grief ,Lt Gen

  • Vinay Sharma ( S-129)

I remember Mr Mallon as a polished immaculately dressed gentleman who looked a typical English Professor. Enjoyed his classes and give him full credit for my 3pt score in English Literature. I even remember his efforts at teaching us French .Despite his French beard, best efforts and his old French Record Player,  French always remained French for me.

He had a MG car which was rare those days .Remembered him, when MG car was now introduced in India. We were all lucky to have him as our teacher. May God give strength to the family to bear the loss 🙏

  • Col BS Grewal (s-50,1967)

In school, I was good at all subjects, but my Waterloo was English. Because of my low pass grades in English, I never got a good position in class.

In the ISC year, Mr. Mallon would often advise something to the effect, “write simple language, write (describe) what you actually see and write what you really think and feel” In the ISC final instead of attempting an essay, I wrote a story as an option. I wrote what I thought , felt and imagined in simple language. Low beholds! I got grade 3 in English language. Thanks! To you Sir. Never thought I would get that grade. Passing was the aim.

 Came to visit you two years back Sir, in Edinburgh to pay my respects, my misfortune could not meet you because of poor prior communication. Farewell Sir! and RIP🙏

  • Dr Jashanjot Singh (S-52,1967) 

Andrew was older and Ian was younger. Should have been 7 and 4 years old in 1964-65. It was nearly a daily chore for us to make sand castles behind the bathrooms of Sutlej House, towards the poultry farm in Jr school. Most of the good aspects of British English were taught to me by them. I remember looking at them with unadulterated (because they were our second master’s children) admiration speak flawless English. From Amritsar to PPS, Nabha , one of the best five schools in India  and then, playing nearly daily with a Scotsman’s children was the ultimate. A dream that has lasted till now . Sad to know that one of them has travelled to Heaven on his bike so that he extends a welcome to his Dad. ( I chose to express the demise of  Mr Mallon, this way. More emotional and less sad . He lived a full life ). My tributes to Mr Mallon . And heartfelt condolences to Mallon Family and the surviving son. Pray both the brothers are there and I continue to remember them the way I have, for so many years. May the Lord grant eternal peace to the departed soul . Au Revoir, sir. You are surely missed with pain deep inside me. God bless.

  • Col Ashwani Tanjani (S-118, 1970) 

I remember Mr. John Mallon, as not only  a unique teacher who had a unique way of teaching, but also as a friend, philosopher and a guide. I guess I earned this virtue because I was  the Head Boy of the school and in my duties as the  HB  there were numerous occasions which brought us together. John taught us English language and literature loud and clear. What was unique about his teaching skills was that he made the subject not only very easy but very clear and absorbing, so much so, that each time the class period ended, one just wanted that he could continue. John will always remain dear in my memories. My heartfelt condolences to the family and prayers to the Almighty to give them strength to bear this irreparable loss. I shall miss you John. RIP!.

  • Dr. Narinder Kohli (B-79,1966) 

To understand Scottish accents for me were not easy and I was not sure how I would be able to interact freely with John Mallon. However all my fears were allayed when he walked into Mr. Kate’s office and I was introduced to him. We spent about half an hour doing some paperwork relating to the matters of the personnel department.  Right from the first day of his arrival he kept a tight schedule relating to lesson plans and other details of his curriculum. Through his own personal typewriter he would type notes but when something major was to be typed or copied, we in the office, were there for him. 

A mild-mannered by nature he had no air about himself. Always dressed impeccably but did not care about his unfurled hair. John had a subtle sense of humour and was especially great at one-liners.

When John bought his MG car and brought it to Nabha, it was a rare sight. Imported cars were not common in those days. We all will admire this possession of his with pride. 

Once a student fell dangerously ill and had to be rushed to the Patiala hospital. Thanks to the help of John this student was transported in his car and reached Patiala in about 15 minutes. Those were the days when there was not much traffic on the roads.

John was very fond of English movies and would go to Phul theater in Patiala on Thursdays.  Once we ran into each other there. Thereafter,  he insisted on taking me along instead of my going by bus. I must say that I rode in his car the most than any other staff member.

A religious and family man, he and his family will go to a church in Patiala every Sunday since Nabha did not have a church in those days.

John has left a mark with his friendly attitude, generosities, care about fellow beings. He will be terribly missed.

They really had taken a great liking for each other. Both the Kates and Mallons became like families in the real true sense. I wish I could emphasize more about this friendship. The families were almost inseparable. They spent lots of evenings together over simple meals, laughing, cracking good standard jokes. I happened to be there on occasions.

  • Pushapraj (PA to Founder Headmaster Mr. JK Kate) 

Never really had a chance to study or interact with Mr. Mallon.

I do remember he used to drive like a race car driver, or I should say like a plane about to take off from the runway.

Once 1967, we were going in the school van to Patiala for the annual athletic meet.  Mr. Kate and Mallon sped past us in his MG. Our driver Milkhi Ram was another speedster, with all of us rooting, he tried his best to catch up but soon lost sight of them. He almost always flew in his MG from junior to sr. School.

RIP Sir, Om Shanti 🙏

  • Amarjit Singh Shaheed (b-102,1970)

Dr. Jashanjot Singh Bhangu (S-52,1967)

ONA Samman Samaroh of 1960s Founding Teachers.

‘The Pillars’-The Staff of early Sixties who laid the strong foundations of our SchoolChandigarh, November 22, 2020 : The Old Nabhaites Association (ONA) organized a function in continuation of the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations The Old Nabhaites Association ( ONA),The Alumni association of the Punjab Public School, organized the ONA SAMMAN SAMROH (First Edition) for the Founder and Early Years Teachers and selected Non -teaching staff (Covering the period 1960-1970) at The Yadvindra Gardens, Pinjore, Shimla Highway,Distt Panchkula, Haryana

The event was conducted in keeping with Established GURU SHISHYA PARAM PARA wherein 39 Ex- Teachers including two ex – headmasters and seven non- teaching staff of the period 1960-70 were awarded the ONA SAMMAN PATRA and a Shawl. The function was broadcast alive all over the world on Zoom. Many ex- teachers and students participated online.

Brig. Harinder S. Bedi (R-58, 1968), President ,The Old Nabhaites Association.

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An over view of the Staff in 1960s  below  was prepared and read out by Dr. Jashanjot (S-52, 1967).

https://www.ppsona.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Overview-of-1960s.pdf

The short notes on 1960-70s staff as prepared  by Dr Jashanjot (S-52, 1967) for the occasion which could not be read out for paucity of time.

https://www.ppsona.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Short-mentions-of-Gurusw-rev1.pdf

Some Glimpses from the event:

  

Read Much More:-

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/old-nabhaites-fondly-remember-teachers-at-diamond-jubilee/articleshow/79374724.cms

https://www.cityairnews.com/content/old-nabhaites-association-samman-samaroh-held

https://www.babushahi.com/view-news.php?id=111319&headline=ONA-Samman-Samaroh-organized-by-The-Old-Nabhaites-Association

https://www.divyahimachal.com/2020/11/alumni-celebrates-diamond-jubilee-1960-70-teaching-non-teaching-staff-ona-award-letter-and-shawl

 

Inderbir Kakar, Wizard of Physics

Inder Bir Kakar, Wizard of Physics

(School tenure 1962-1977)

(Compiled by Dr. Jashanjot Singh, S-52,1967)

Inder Bir Kakar, an educationist par excellence, dedicated his life for the development of children.  Born in 1929 He completed his post-graduation in Physics from Aligarh Muslim University. Mr. Kakar stated his professional career as a Physics Teacher in Delhi Polytechnic (Delhi College of Engineering and Technology) in Delhi.

Mr IB Kakar as part of the elite staff of 1960s. He is in the first row standing ,fourth from left

Mr IB Mr Kakar looks on above Mr Kate’s arm as ladies of staff are introduced to a chief guest. Other two pictures show Mr Kakar involved in the Physics Exhibition of Founders’.

Mr IB Kakar on the left with MR JK Kate at latter’s farewell, Mrs Kakar is sitting with Mr Kate and Mr RC Bhalla looks on. Other two pictures are of the ‘Fancy dress’ farewell party of 1970 batch.

He joined the elite group of teachers at The Punjab Public School Nabha in 1962. He served the School in the capacity of Beas House Master and as the Head of Physics department until 1977.
In the year 1977 Mr. Kakar undertook the task of fulfilling one of the dreams of our former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi for imparting quality education to the less privileged children of our Society. Thus he came to head The  Navyug School, a prestigious institution. This was funded by the Government of Delhi and under his able leadership reached great heights.

As Head of Navyug School,Delhi with PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Indira Gandhi. Receiving the Bal Mitra award from PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi and ‘The Medal’.

Recognizing his efforts and contribution to the cause, the Government of India conferred him with the prestigious “Bal Mitra” (friend of the child) award. The award was personally handed over to him by PM Mrs. Indra Gandhi on 16th March 1983.
During his tenure at Navyug, the First Lady of United States of America Mrs. Rosalyn Carter visited School.

During his tenure at Navyug School the First Lady of USA Rosalyn Carter visited the School.Pictures show her in School and a letter shoe wrote to Mr. Kakar.

A celebrated Author he wrote nineteen books in Physics which were published by renowned publishers viz Oxford University press and Orient Longmans. List includes a series for NCERT. He was also for some time Physics Head Examiner, CBSE,

Some of the many books written by Mr IB Kakar.

Mr. Kakar left for his heavenly abode in 1984 while performing his duties as the Principal of the prestigious Army Public School Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi. He had moved there after a fulfilling tenure with Navyug School.

He is survived by his wife Mrs. Prem Mala Kakar, Old Nabhaites daughter Alka Bajaj (R-87,1969) and Sons Captain (Red) Ravinder Kakar (R-97,1971)  who won a Shaurya Chakra during a severe Orissa cyclone and Rajeev Kakar (B-288,1976).

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From “The Chronicle”

28th August 1962 ,When school reopened The Headmaster welcomed the new Teacher for Physics Mr IB Kakkar.

 

In September 1965 , the staff club was started. In a Badminton competition, Mr.Johri and Mr.Kakkar joined hands to lift the doubles trophy.
In August ,1968, Mr. I.B.Kakkar was also awarded a scholarship by the British Council to study for four months in England to learn new techniques for teaching of Physics.
In July 1969, On his return from England Mr.I.B.Kakkar took over the reins of Senior Beas House from Mr.Sibal who shifted base to Sutlej House in the absence of Mr.Y.P.Johri.
In September, 1969, After the teachers, it was Mr.G.S.Punia, the school Bursar who was awarded a British Council visitorship. While he was away, Mr.I.B.Kakkar officiated as the School Bursar.
In April, 1977, Mr.I.B.Kakkar, the wizard of physics and the former housemaster of Beas House bid adieu to the School after a dedicated service of 15 years and a special assembly was organized to bid farewell to him. He took up the appointment of Principal at The Navyug Public School New Delhi.

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Comments:
In an article ‘Pride of Punjab’ (on early years of school) by Mr. JK Kate written at the time of Silver Jubilee, in 1985 he wrote ;
Mr. KakKar worked very hard to improve upon Physics results. It was no surprise that many science students ended up with distinction in Physics.

 

As a student, I remember he laboured very hard as he was very keen that all his students did well in the exams. He used to be as anxious as the students on the day of the exam. He took great personal interest and put in a lot of effort for the well-presented Physics exhibition, every year on Founders’ Day, as pictures will tell you. – Jashanjot (S-52,1967)